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California 2024 Application Strategy Overview


California 2024 Application Strategy Overview

By Rodger Holscher

With 2023 ending, it is time to start thinking about your 2024 Big Game Applications.  California is one of the later draws in the country so most people will know how their applications are shaking out by then.  June 2 is the deadline for the Big Game Draw in California.  With non-resident tags getting harder to get throughout the West, California holds some options that are often overlooked.

For non-residents, California doesn’t hold the possibilities of other western states. Non-residents don’t have much of a shot for anything but deer.  The State of California skews the tags massively in resident’s favor for species like elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep.  Non-residents can still get two deer tags.  California’s season dates can help extend your fall and give you more opportunity.    

Residents should pay close attention to the 2023 numbers when they are released for the elk draw.  In 2023, California added many new elk tags and reworked several of the elk hunting zones.  The point creep in California is a real problem.  It might be easier to go for the elk tag you have always wanted, with the new tags/hunt areas taking pressure off other zones.  

The bighorn sheep numbers have struggled in some areas in recent years.  If you are looking for a bighorn sheep tag, pay attention to the animal counts.  The number of mature rams in each herd determines the number of tags available.  

Pronghorn have not been able to increase population in the past several years.  This hasn’t hurt the number of B&C bucks that come out of the northern California units.  Some of the less sought-after units can still hold big bucks even with the lower numbers.  

Make sure to keep subscribed to Eastmans’ and keep your TagHub subscription active.  There will be detailed information about these topics in the coming month.  

Join Mike Eastman and Amigo Fred on an unforgettable journey as he recounts the origin story of Eastmans’ Hunting Journals. Through sheer hard work and determination, he brought his vision to life and created a legacy that has continued to thrive to this day. With his unique storytelling style, Mike takes you on a journey steeped in Eastman family history that you won’t want to miss. Tune in now to celebrate our 200th issue of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal

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